Additional HMO Licensing Requirements in York

These rules affect residential landlords with 3 or more tenants in a single property.  

Next year, York Council are bringing in additional HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) licensing requirements for landlords letting out residential properties in York.

These changes relate to properties within 8 electoral boundaries:



Fulford and Heslington



Hull Road


Osbaldwick and Derwent

What’s Changing?

Currently, York landlords need an HMO licence if a residential property is occupied by 5 or more people who form more than one household and who share facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet. Individual tenants who occupy the property with non-family members/people with whom they are not in a relationship will be treated as being in separate households.

For example, student houses and/or young professionals in a house or flat share are treated as forming different households. However, if a house was let to 2 parents; their adult child and 2 grandparents, they would be a single household which is not an HMO even though there are 5 occupiers.

From 1 April 2023, if the property is in one of these 8 electoral wards, a landlord will need to have an HMO licence if the property is lived in by 3 tenants or more from more than one household who share facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet. Therefore, a number of York properties and landlords which previously did not need an HMO licence will now need one.

Landlords who are affected will be able to apply for HMO licences from 1 January 2023. However, when a landlord is applying for an HMO licence for the first time, we would recommend that they start preparing their application as soon as possible. Landlords and their properties will have to meet certain standards/requirements in order to obtain an HMO licence.

If a landlord is required to have an HMO licence but doesn’t have one, they risk a criminal conviction/fine. Also, a landlord won’t be able to serve a section 21 notice to end an assured shorthold tenancy if they don’t have an HMO licence where one is required.

HMO Licensing and Planning Permission

It’s very easy to confuse HMO licensing requirements with planning requirements but they are two separate things. Any landlord needs to consider not only if they need an HMO licence for their let property but also whether it has any planning permission which may be needed. For example, York is subject to an Article 4 direction meaning that a landlord would need to apply for planning permission before changing the use of a property from being occupied by one household to an HMO (e.g. moving from letting a flat or house to a single family to letting it to a group of 3 or more students).

If you are thinking of investing in a buy to let property, then Guest Walker have acted for a number of investor landlords when dealing with their property portfolios.

Alison Munro